Women With Backbone: Run Women Run Endorsements 2016, Part I – The Local Races

Run Women Run had its latest meeting to endorse qualified candidates on May 1st, 2016. Three women won endorsements in local races, three in national races– including Hillary Clinton.


Run Women Run is a non-partisan political action group committed to inspiring, recruiting, training, mentoring and supporting pro-choice women who seek elected and appointed offices. Members benefit from supporting candidates who uphold Run Women Run principles, and endorsed candidates benefit from our support of their campaigns.

Our newly endorsed candidates, in San Diego races, are:


LaShae Collins

(619) 838-5867


Candidate for: San Diego Unified School Board, District E


LaShae Collins is personable and practiced in both her speech and in what she can do for District Es’ Unified School Board. District E covers much of Southeast San Diego and is home to diverse populations with many economic challenges and cultural differences, including Latinos/as, Asian Americans, African Americans, immigrants and refugees.

When asked why she is a viable candidate, she explained: “I have lived in this community my entire life and I have had a child in the school system, so I understand the challenges families face.” Collins added, “I have the education, background, skills and support within my community to win this race.”

Indeed. Collins is currently the District Director for California Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-CA) and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Africana Studies at San Diego State University. She is a doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership and works on policy in education for public school and university students through-out California.

Collins has served on numerous community committees and even coached Softball. As a professional and a volunteer, she has the endorsements of the California Charter Schools Association, San Diego Democratic Party, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of the Pacific Southwest and leaders such as California State Assembly Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins, and more.

When I asked Collins why having pro-choice women is important in SD’s Unified School Board, she replied: “Part of our responsibility to the students is to prepare them for the realities of life, including reproductive and sexual health. Having a strong advocate for comprehensive sexual education to give students the knowledge they need to make responsible sexual decisions is a necessity to protect our kids.”

Collins feels that local schools have erroneously shifted from a focus on education policy to politicking. Should she be elected, her priorities will include:

  1. Increasing parent and community engagement by increasing school board transparency, coordinating community dialogue and holding open office hours.
  2. Securing a Compact for Success program with San Diego State University so that students who meet academic requirements get guaranteed admission.
  3. Providing diverse and culturally competent classes, seminars, and apprenticeship programs that prepare students for higher education, graduation or direct success in our modern economy, should a student seek the trades instead of college.



Lori Saldana for Mayor headshot 2016

Lori Saldana

(619) 786-5674


Candidate for: San Diego Mayor

Lori Saldana entered the Mayoral race late, but she has the name recognition and legislative record to make up for it. Saldana served in our California State Assembly from 2004-2010, when term limits prevented her from running again. In her 2008 Assembly election, Saldana received the most votes ever by any Assemblymember in the history of San Diego County, at that time. In 2012, she narrowly lost her bid for Congress by .05% – even though she spent only one quarter the amount in campaigning than her opponent did.

San Diego has a Strong Mayor form of government, which grants our Mayor broad authority to interpret and administer local laws and regulations, as well as the responsibility of proposing Annual Budgets to the City Council. Saldana was a Democrat in the Assembly, is running for Mayor as an Independent and is self-described as “non-partisan.” Saldana’s legislative record as an Assemblymember reflects her knowledge in many areas and her ability to garner bi-partisan support.

Saldana was named the 2006 Legislator of the Year by the California Association of County Veterans Service Officers and she won NARAL’s “Champion of Choice” award in 2009. She was Chair of the Women’s Caucus in the California Legislature and co-authored landmark global warming and marriage equality legislation. A lengthy list of her legislative efforts from health care to jobs and protecting homeowners, veterans and the environment can be found at http://lori4mayor.org/accomplishments/.

Should Lori Saldana be elected Mayor, her priorities will include:

  1. Building affordable housing and combating homelessness, which includes increasing the minimum wage and providing paid sick leave.
  2. Implementing San Diego’s new and aggressive Climate Action Plan.
  3. Increased hiring and retention of public safety personnel, including 911 dispatchers.
  4. Solving greater numbers of crimes by eliminating the backlog of untested rape kits in San Diego Police Department evidence lockers.

When I asked why she wants to be our Mayor, Saldana explained: “I am a native San Diegan who loves our City. San Diego needs innovative leadership to act like the major metropolis it has become (8th largest city in U.S.). This has been sorely lacking, and I believe I can bring a team into City Hall to provide this leadership.” Plus, she is prepared to run for at least a 2nd term as Mayor, in order to see her goals through.




Melinda K. Vasquez

(858) 848-0324


Candidate for: California Assembly, District 77


Despite having just passed the California Bar Exam and opening her own real estate law practice, Melinda Vasquez decided to run for California Assembly, District 77 because Republican incumbent, Brian Maienschein, was running unopposed. Maienschein votes against most of the core political issues Vasquez holds dear. Vasquez has three main objectives should she be elected:

  1. To pass and enforce reasonable gun safety laws.
  2. To achieve universal health care by improving Covered California, lowering consumer costs and increasing the depth of coverage – while protecting women’s reproductive health care rights.
  3. To strengthen environmental protection laws to conserve California’s limited resources and protect citizens from pollution.

A self-described progressive and Rancho Penasquitos native, Vasquez has 10 years of experience in community organizing. From being a Court Appointed Special Advocate for foster children by the San Diego County Courts, to President of the Rancho Penasquitos Town Council, she is also a co-founder of the PQ Democratic Club and is a State Party for Democrats delegate.

There are also personal reasons Vasquez is running. She explained to me: “I was raised by a Republican mother that respects women’s reproductive rights and she instilled that value in me. I did not realize that the GOP platform does not protect women’s reproductive rights until much later. If we aspire to resemble the language that our constitution professes, then we must protect women’s reproductive rights, period.”

Further, she said, “I believe in a small yet efficient government that grants its citizens the autonomy to decide personal matters.”

Vasquez has organized for various candidates and walked precincts to Get Out The Vote for Congressman Scott Peters (D-CA) and President Obama. Her District 77 voters are 35% Republican, 30% Democrat and 30% Decline to State their affiliation. She feels she knows her constituents well and hopes they recognize her as a better choice for change.